Ronda - The Bridge and Gorge in Ronda Andalucia

As you travel around the region of Malaga in Andalucia Spain, you will come across the little town of Ronda. It is worth while making an extended stop. There are many attractions and much history to be found here.

There is a bridge, a bullring, a palace and a plaza. There is also the gorge. Which is a natural feature in the landscape. Take a moment and stand overlooking it. The impressive view from here will leave you with wonderful lasting memories.

Bridges bring people together and they are often metaphors for the move between past and future. In the case of Ronda, the old quarter (known as La Ciudad) and the new quarter (called El Mercadillo) are forever bound.

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The Three Bridges

You will often hear of two bridges in Ronda. But, there are three of them. Each one is built across the gorge of el Tajo. This fabulous natural wonder has been carved out of the limestone by Guadalevin River.

One, two, three…still with us? The three bridges are as follows in terms of age:

  1. Puento Romano or Roman Bridge that also has the name of Puente San Miguel.
  2. Puente Viejo or Old Bridge that is sometimes called Puente Arabe or Arab Bridge built in 1616.
  3. Puente Nuevo or New Bridge.

The last of these is the most famous and you get the best views from it. The picture here will give you an idea of what it is like.

The views you get from the centre of town down the gorge from the bridge are spectaular in deed

The New Bridge was a Long Time in Coming

Philip V reigned in Spain in the first half of the XVIIIth Century. It was at this time Spain began to recover economically and grow again. Major infrastructure projects are often a sign of this. Philip V settled on the idea of a new bridge. This the King believed would add to the prestige of the town and area. He decided to construct an impressive 35 metres diameter arch one. It was completed in a short 8 months in 1735, but it would collapse and cause many a death in 1741.

The citizens of Ronda would have to wait until 1751 for a new bridge to be built. Caution might have played a part in making construction last until 1793. This is now called "Puente Nuevo" which translates to "new bridge".

People and carriages started to cross it when the Royal May Fair of Ronda took place.

At night the area of the bridge is lit up by floodlights and this is surely worth a picture.

Architect and Architecture

The architect was Jose Martin de Aldehuela. The bridge is 98 metres high. It does not go all the way down, but stands above the gorge’s floor. The gorge is 120 metres under you, when you stand on the bridge. The many pillars of stone are needed to support the bridge, at such a height.

Standing on the edge of a plateau, Ronda is at a high altitude. The winds can be quite strong, so please be careful. The Puente Nuevo is where the wind has many times blown people off it, including the architect.

The view of the surrounding countryside from the top of the gorge is really quite amazing

Things to See in Ronda

You can enter the city via two gates: the Puerta de Almocabar or the Renaissance Gate. La Ciudad (one side of the bridge) contains many of Ronda’s architectural treasures. The Plaza de Espana is in El Mercadillo (the other side). Any lover of nature would enjoy passing hours in the Sierra de las Nieves, the Caldera or the Garganta del Arroyo del Cupil. Make sure you stop by the Plaza de Toros, possibly the most famous bull-fighting ring in the world. The Goyesca festival is held annually on its sands.

Conquerors of Ronda

The town of Ronda dates back to Ancient Roman times. It was repeatedly conquered, as the Iberian Peninsula had to suffer the invasion of multiple foreign powers, such as the Sueves, the Byzantines and the Moors whose rule would last from 711 to 1485.